Missouri, Illinois and Kansas Divorce Lawyers
Divorce Lawyers Serving Missouri, Illinois and Kansas in Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Wichita and Beyond
At Stange Law Firm, PC, we have extensive trial experience and are ready and willing to take your case to trial if necessary. Until a settlement is reached, we believe it is vital to prepare a client’s case for trial, because being ready is key to winning. The results of trials are long-lasting and can be hard, if not impossible in some instances, to change if there is an adverse result.
However, all too often, people accuse each other of bad things when the time, energy and money spent really does not make it worthwhile. Often, fighting spouses find that they use up the resources needed to start separate futures while fighting during their divorces.
At Stange Law Firm, we believe that there is often a better way. We encourage our clients to make smart decisions and to resolve matters using common sense when possible. However, we also know that the best way to reach a settlement is to prepare a client’s case for trial until there is a settlement because peace can sometimes only be achieved through strength.
Divorce Lawyers and Separation Attorney — Serving St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield and the Surrounding Areas
From separation or annulment to uncontested or contested divorce, we have the resources to handle all aspects of a divorce — no matter how complex. We know the law on divorce and can guide our clients through the process effectively and efficiently.
As set forth in their biographies, many of our attorneys have received awards and accolades for divorce and family law. In fact, both partners at our law firm have been recognized as Super Lawyers Rising Stars for Family Law. Among other awards, Kirk Stange has also been recognized as a Top 10 Family Law Attorney in Missouri by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys.
Divorce Lawyers also Representing Clients in Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield and the Surrounding Areas
We represent clients in all aspects of Missouri and Illinois divorces, from initial separations to resolution of all issues related to child custody and child support, as well as all of the financial issues in divorce, including property division and spousal maintenance (alimony).
We understand that each divorce is unique, so we listen closely to every client and customize our representation accordingly. We also implement mediation and collaborative divorce techniques to help our clients achieve the best possible results. If you are interested in using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for divorce, our lawyers have the experience needed to help you prepare for ADR in your divorce and get the best results possible. In cases where there was fraud, an annulment may also be an option.
Helpful Information for Individuals Going Through a Divorce
You can also find out the following topics on our webpage by clicking below or looking at the menus:
- High asset divorce: If you are going through a divorce and have a high net worth, our lawyers can help guide you through the process.
- Contested divorce: If you have a divorce with contested issues, we have experience with contested divorce.
- Uncontested divorce: If you and your spouse both want a divorce and need assistance with an uncontested divorce, our lawyers can help.
- What to expect at trial: If you are in the midst of a contested divorce where a trial will be necessary, our lawyers can help answer your questions and effectively represent you at trial if you need representation.
- Legal separation: Sometimes, a marriage is not working, but the paries still believe there is a reasonably likelihood it can be saved. We can help you with a legal separation if this is the case.
- Legal issues in divorce: Are you concerned with the legal issues involved in a divorce? Our lawyers can talk to you about the legal issues that might be in play in your case.
- Petitioner vs. Respondent in divorce: Parties can sometimes be confused about the difference between a Petitioner and Respondent in a dissolution of marriage. We can help explain the difference.
- Divorce FAQs: Are you wanting to find out some information about divorce? Our lawyers can help answer your questions.
- Questions for divorce attorney: Do you have questions that you want to ask a divorce lawyer? Our lawyers are here to help.
- Same-sex divorce: Are you in a same-sex marriage and need help with a divorce? Our lawyers can help.
- Change of judges in divorce proceedings: Are you in the midst of a divorce and wondering whether you might be able to obtain a different judge? Find out if that is an option.
- Bankruptcy and divorce: Financial difficulties can be a leading cause of divorce. If you are have debt you cannot pay, but also need a divorce, you can talk with our lawyers about your options.
- Private investigators in divorce: In some cases, you may be interested in hiring a private investigator to prove marital misconduct, conduct detrimental to custody or to help locate hidden assets.
- Divorce counseling: Are you interested in divorce counseling? Our lawyers can help guide you in the right direction.
- Plan for divorce: Do you believe you have a divorce that is inevitably on the horizon. Our lawyers can help you plan for divorce.
- Children and divorce: If you have children and are going through a divorce, you are likely concerned about the possible affects on them.
- Marital misconduct and divorce: Are you concerned that your spouse has committed marital misconduct? You can talk to a lawyer about the possible effects this can have on your divorce.
- Social media in divorce FAQ: With many utilizing social media, individuals often wonder whether they should continue to use social media or what is appropriate to post. Our lawyers can discuss this with you.
- Woman’s name change after divorce: After divorce, many wives change their name back to their maiden or former name. We can discuss your options with you.
- Divorce and insurance FAQ: If you are going through a divorce, you may be worried how this will effect your insurance that you have.
- Dating during divorce: You might be wondering whether dating during divorce is advisable or not. Our lawyers can talk to you about it.
- Residency requirements: If you are looking to file for divorce in a particular state, it is vital that you meet the residency requirements to file. Our lawyers can discuss the legal and factual issues involved in your case.
- Waiting periods: To complete a divorce, you have to satisfy waiting or separation requirements. Our lawyers can discuss this with you.
- Infidelity and Divorce: Parties often wonder what the effect of cheating has on the outcome of a divorce. This page talks about it.
From our webpage, you can also read articles about divorce and family law, view informational videos,divorce seminar videos, listen to our podcast, download our mobile application or view support calculators for Missouri, Illinois and Kansas.
Grounds for Divorce in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas
Parties can generally get divorced when a there are irreconcilable differences and there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. It is not necessary to show fault in to get divorced, but fault can impact property and debt division and spousal maintenance in Missouri and Kansas.
Residency Requirements in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas
If you are going to get divorced, either you or your wife (or both of you) must be a resident in the state, and must have lived in the state for the requisite time period prior to the filing of the Petition. This action should generally be filed in the county where the petitioner resides. Whoever is filing for divorce should generally do so in the county in which they live. In some cases, a motion for a change of venue is a possibility.
Name of the Court and Title of the Action/Parties in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas
Here are a few key names for you to make note of. First is the Circuit Court, where the petition for the divorce is filed. The first action is generally called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The final action is generally called the Decree or Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Depending on which party is filing the divorce, you are either called the Petitioner (the party filing for divorce) or the Respondent (the one who gets served).
Legal Separation in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas
Making the decision to file for a divorce is difficult for many parties. For those individuals who may not yet be ready to take that big next step, there is another option for you. Missouri divorce laws state that parties may file for a legal separation when there is a reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. Many of the guidelines remain the same, in regards to things like spousal maintenance, division of property, child support, etc. One or both of the parties must have resided within the state for the required period prior to filing this petition. It is important that you consider all options and factors at hand prior to making any legally binding decisions when it comes to legal separation and dissolution because a legal separation can be converted into a divorce.
Spousal Maintenance Missouri, Illinois and Kansas
According to Missouri and Kansas divorce laws, the court may grant spousal maintenance to either party. This depends on a finding that the party that is seeking spousal maintenance is not able to support themselves and lacks sufficient property to provide for their own needs; or that the party that is seeking spousal maintenance is the guardian of a child whose condition is such that it would be inappropriate for that party to seek outside employment.
The court will take in and consider the following factors in ruling the amount of spousal maintenance to be compensated:
- The time necessary for the spouse seeking support to acquire sufficient education or training
- The comparative earning capacity of each spouse
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The obligations and assets of the marriage, both separate and marital
- The duration of the marriage
- The age, physical and mental condition of the spouse seeking support
- The ability of the supporting spouse to meet both his needs and the needs of the spouse seeking support
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
- And any other relevant factors
The order establishing spousal maintenance must also state whether the award is modifiable or non-modifiable. If the award is modifiable, the court may modify the award only upon a showing that the circumstances have changed so considerably as to make the terms unreasonable. In Illinois, however, there is a formula used to calculate maintenance in certain cases where income is below a certain level.
Distribution of Property in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas
Missouri divorce laws call for an equitable distribution of assets. This means that the court will divide the marital property between the parties as it deems equitable and fair, after setting aside each party’s separate property. This essentially means that you get to keep what belongs to you (property you owned prior to the marriage) and all shared property (property you owned during the marriage) will be divided equally between you and your ex-spouse. The court will consider the following factors in dividing the property between the parties:
- The economic circumstances of the parties at the time of the division of property
- The contribution of each spouse to the marital estate
- The value of the non-marital property set apart to each spouse
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
- Custodial arrangements for minor children
Child Custody Missouri and Illinois and Kansas
Missouri and Kansas courts will determine the issue of child custody based upon the best interests of the child. A partial list of aspects that the court will consider in determining the best interests of the child include:
- The wishes of the parents, the need of the child for a frequent and meaningful relationship with both parents
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with both the parents and any siblings
- The wishes of the child
Prior to awarding custody, the court shall first consider awarding joint physical and legal custody to both parents. If the court decides that joint physical and legal custody awarded to both parents is not in the best interests of the child, the court shall next consider joint physical custody, with one party being awarded sole legal custody. If that arrangement is also found to not be in the best interests of the child, the court shall next consider joint legal custody with one party granted sole physical custody. If that arrangement is not in the best interests of the child, the court would next consider sole custody to either parent, or a third-party custody arrangement.
Note that in Illinois, physical custody is referred to as parenting time, while legal custody is referred to as allocation of parental responsibilities.
In Missouri, there will be no preference given to either party based upon the parent’s age, sex or financial status, nor because of the age or sex of the child, in determining custody.
When custody of a child is at issue in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage the court shall order the parents to attend educational classes regarding the effects of custody and dissolution of marriage upon the children. The court may also order the parents to attend an alternative dispute resolutionprogram to resolve any disputes regarding issues of custody or visitation.
Child Support in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas
As with every other family law issue, the court will determine the matter of child support. The court may order either or both parties to pay an equitable amount necessary to support their child or children. Pursuant to state guidelines, some of the factors the court will take into consideration while determining the amount of child support include:
- The financial needs and resources of the child
- The financial resources and needs of the parents
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not terminated
- The child’s physical and legal custody arrangements
Legally, your liability to pay child support shall end upon emancipation or often the death of the child, the marriage of the child, the child entering active duty in the military, the child becoming self-sufficient, the child reaching the age of emancipation years of age, or, if the child is enrolled in a secondary school program of education, when the child reaches reaches a certain age or completes school. Note that the laws vary in each state and it’s important to discuss the particulars with an attorney.
You may also be required to provide health insurance for your child. In addition, if you were already paying for health insurance for your children and spouse prior to the divorce, you are obligated to continue paying for it from the time of filing until the divorce is final (meaning you cannot cancel health insurance for your children and spouse during the divorce proceedings).
Name Change in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas
A spouse may request a name change back to their former or maiden name. This request may be granted by the court upon the divorce.
Do I Need an Aggressive Divorce Lawyer in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas?
Sometimes, individuals indicate that they want an aggressive divorce lawyer to represent them in their case. The reality is that aggression is rarely persuasive to a divorce court judge. What most clients should seek in a family law attorney is somebody who zealously represents their interests and who provides competent, communicative and diligent representation.
What About the Cost?
Some clients have questions about the cost of their divorce. For individuals with questions about this, please read our FAQ page.
Contact Divorce Attorneys in MO, IL and KS in Saint Louis (Clayton and Ellisville), Kansas City (Lee’s Summit and Overland Park), Columbia, Springfield, Wichita and the Surrounding Areas
If you are looking to find and hire a divorce lawyer, contact us online or by phone to schedule a confidential consultation at any of our convenient locations.